The Year of 1942 (I was 15 years old)
What was happening in the world:
- The German armies reach Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad but none of the three will surrender.
- In North Africa, Rommel launches his drive to take Cairo and the Suez, but Montgomery stops him at El Alamein.
- The Nazis install Quisling as head of their puppet government in Norway.
- American and British bombers begin massive attacks on German cities.
- The German armies begin to crumble in the freeze of a Russian winter.
- Marshall Timoshenko hotly pursues the retreating Nazis.
- Eisenhower assumes overall command of allied forces in Europe.
- Japan seizes Manila and Singapore. They invade Burma and cut off the Burma Road.
- Mac Arthur flees the Philippines and moves his headquarters to Australia.
- Admiral Nimitz at Midway gives the U.S. its 1st major victory over the Japanese Navy.
- Japan attempts to invade Australia through New Guinea, but their forces are defeated by U.S. and Australian armies at Guadal Canal.
- General Doolittle bombs Tokyo for the first time using B-25 bombers from the Hornet aircraft carrier. The Hornet now sits at the old Alameda Naval Air Station.
What was happening in the USA:
- The U.S. secretly begins work on the Manhattan Project and the production of the first atomic bomb.
- FDR orders internment of all Japanese-Americans on the west coast.
- Price controls and rationing begin.
- Victory Gardens become a big thing throughout the country.
What was happening in California:
- A lone Japanese submarine shells the California Coast.
- Kaiser's shipyards begin mass production of U.S. Liberty Ships.
What was happening in sports (despite the war):
- In the Rose Bowl, it is Oregon State 20 - Duke 16.
- In the World Series, St. Louis beats the Yankees 4 games to 1 game.
- In the NFL Championship game it is Washington 14 - Chicago 6.
- The Heisman Trophy goes to Frank Sinkwich of Georgia.
- The national champion of College Football is Ohio State.
- The national champion of College Basketball is Stanford.
What was happening at the movies:
- Best movie is Mrs. Miniver.
- Best actor is James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
- Best actress is Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver
- Other great movies are:
- Casablanca (Humphrey Bogart)
- Wake Island
- This Gun for Hire (Allan Ladd)
- Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves (Jon Hall)
Memorable Songs were:
- Praise the lord and pass the ammunition (Kay Kyser)
- White Christmas (Bing Crosby)
- Don’t Fence Me In (Bing Crosby)
- By the Light of a Silvery Moon
What was happening in my life:
- Ma has her eighth and final child – my little brother Tom. Dad and Ma took a solo trip to San Diego in 1941 to attend Pat's wedding to Bob. It was on this trip that Tom was conceived. Dad was 58 and Ma was 41 at the time (see photos at right).
- We make our one and only wartime trip to Long Beach in Dad's old DeSoto.
- I hear the bad news that beginning next year, Roosevelt will no longer operate as a high school. This means I must transfer to another school to finish my 11th and 12th years. For pictures and memories from my Roosevelt days, click here. For Fremont, click here.
- A cute brunette named Laverne Barnett is now my latest "secret love” at school.
Long Beach in June 1942
We met my older sister Pat and her husband Bob.
My little brother Tom (above and below)
He was the last kid that Ma would have - number 8.
The 4 dogs of the Morris family
Mickey, Betty, Dorothy, and Eleanor
- In 1942 the remainder of our family (Dad-Ma-Baby Tom-Bet-Rich-and I) made a trip to Long Beach and Pat and Bob came up to visit us there. Bet's friend Lydia was with us.
- Dorothy (another older sister) and Van - She met and married Van in 1942 and for most of the war she followed him wherever he was sent. In 1944 he was sent to the Alameda Air Station and for about a year, they lived with us at 2253 using the front bedroom.
- My older sister Betty went to work at the Oakland Army base in 1942 and was still there when I was drafted. In 1943 when I was 16, she and I went to a special fight at the Oakland Auditorium to see Ray Robinson fight our local boy Earl Turner. We rode the streetcar down and back on East 14th Street. I can still hear one of the vocal fans yelling "Hang him on the pepper tree”. Robinson knocked him out.
- Other great fighters of this wartime period were: Henry Armstrong, Willy Pep, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta, Fritzie Zivic, Barney Ross, Sammy Angott, and Bobo Olson. I followed them all.
- Also, Northwestern was a football powerhouse at this time. Two of their memorable players were Otto Graham (quarterback) and Bill Decorovant (halfback).
- Eleanor and Hank were married at our place on 19th Avenue and they had the reception there. I remember Richard and I hiding in Dad's bedroom. Hank's mother came in to meet us. She seemed very nice.
- Hank was drafted in 1942 and sent to Texas to train as an Army pilot. Eleanor went with him. He came back to visit with us in 1944, and then was sent to Europe. He remained there by choice until 2 years after the war had ended in 1947.
- I remember in 1944 when Eleanor and Carol (Hank's older sister) took me to my first bar on San Pablo Avenue (I was 17). During the war years, the Ali Baba club was a very lively place for drinking and dancing.
- When Hank went to Europe, I inherited his chocolate-brown zoot suit. I wore it to my graduation at Fremont.
What was happening in 1943 ---->
An extraordinary collection of photographs
Fishing Baja 2000
Fishing the Sea of Cortez off Cerralvo Island
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